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What is a web application?

Learn everything there is to know about web applications. Shift develops custom web applications for all types of businesses.

Learn everything there is to know about web applications. Shift develops custom web applications for all types of businesses.

web application or a web app is a type of software that is encoded in a language (HTML, JavaScript or CSS) supported by web browsers and whose execution is carried out by the browser on the Internet or an intranet.

It’s a version of a web page that has been optimized to be used from a mobile phone. It doesn’t depend on any operating system and takes place on a web page in a browser. Facebook and Twitter are good examples of web applications.

Since web applications load on web servers and run in the browser, they don’t require any installation. This means that you can access them at any time and place and from any device if you have an internet connection and access data (username and password).

The large internet servers that provide the hosting service for web apps are located around the world, which makes the service less costly or free in most cases and extremely safe.

Characteristics | How they work | Types of applications | Advantages

What are the main characteristics of web applications?

They require a single development for any device.

You don’t have to download them. The application is hosted on a server and accessed from a browser. This means that you just have to be connected in order to access it.

They are accessible from any browser. If you have a browser installed on your device (Google Chrome, Safari, etc.) you can access the web app.

They appear as a result in the search engine results pages. You won’t find them in the app store since they don’t need to be downloaded. You will find them in the results pages of search engines such as Google or Bing.

How do web applications work?

Web applications are generally encoded in a language that is compatible with the browser, such as JavaScript and HTML, because they ​​rely on the browser to make the program executable. They require an application server to perform the requested tasks, a web server to manage client requests and a database to store information. The majority of web apps are written using JavaScript, HTML5, or CSS.

Here is how the process works:

  • A user initiates a request to the web server over the Internet through a web browser or the web app’s user interface.
  • The web server forwards the request to the appropriate web application server.
  • The web application server performs the requested task.
  • The database then generates the results of the request.
  • The web application server sends the results to the web server.
  • The web server responds to the client with the requested information, which appears on the user’s screen.

What are the different types of web applications?

The spectrum of web applications is very wide, ranging from small tools to browser games, graphics software and adaptations of well-known programs, such as instant messaging services.

Here are the five different types of web applications:

1. Static Web Apps

Static web apps show little information and don’t usually change much. They load on a user’s browser just as they are stored on the web server. As their name suggests, they lack flexibility and offer little to no interaction.

2. Dynamic Web Apps

Dynamic web apps are tools that, unlike static web apps, use databases to load their information. They are constantly changing and can offer a lot of information depending on user interaction. The content is modified every time users access them and they are widely used on blogs, intranet or media websites.

3. Portal Web Apps

Portal web apps are a type of application in which the home page allows access to various sections or categories. Examples of portal web apps include chats, forums, e-mail, search engines, etc.

4. Single Page Apps

As its name suggests, a single page app (SPA) is a web page that contains all the content on a single page. It loads a single HTML file and everything occurs within this file. It offers a fluid and faster experience.

5. Progressive Web Apps

Progressive web apps (PWA) use the latest technologies available in browsers to deliver mobile experiences that are similar to those offered by native applications. They are web applications that are fast and reliable.

What are the advantages of web applications?

Hardware and software savings

Web-based applications require less resources than installed programs. You only need a computer with a web browser and a connection to the Internet. They don’t require distribution channels like traditional software so they have a lower cost. You can even rent web applications according to the functions you want to use or the number of users needed.

Easy of use

Web apps are easy to use, you only need basic computer skills to use them. You can customize them and adapt them to your preferred way of working.

Full compatibility

Web applications are fully compatible with browsers. They usually only require that the web browser be properly updated in order to use them. They are usually more compatible across platforms than downloadable software applications.

They facilitate remote work

One of the key advantages of web apps is that they can be used by multiple users at the same time. All of the information is centralized so all the users can edit or view documents at the same time. The information is accessible from anywhere on the planet in real time.

Fewer Bugs

Web-based applications are less likely to crash and create technical problems. Everyone uses the same version of the web app so all the bugs can be fixed as soon as they are discovered.


There is only one version of the web app on the server, so the update process is fast. Web-based applications do not require the user to worry about obtaining the latest version, nor do they interfere with their daily work to download, install and configure the latest versions.

Data is more secure

You no longer have to worry about losing your information due to hard drive breaks or viruses. The web hosting service where the applications are stored use server farms dotted with extremely high security measures that save data redundantly and offer extensive backup services.

Need a web application for your business?

Groupe Shift is dedicated to designing web apps for all types of companies. Contact us to get a custom web application, which allows you and your team to manage all of your business processes.